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Oklahoma brides venture off the beaten path

Cast of an acrocanthosaurus, Museum of the Red River

By Magen Howard By Lindsey Morehead M

indy Beaver may be a city girl, but she fell in love with a boots-and-Wrangler man. “I’m really girly,” Beaver says, “but Landon, he

really likes that look.”

When the time came for the Tulsa couple to choose a place for their wedding, Mindy and Landon decided to go off the beaten path—and they’re not alone. Some couples are venturing outside the city for a country retreat and a ceremony that is one of a kind. “We’re both originally from Pryor, so we love the rustic, country look,” Beaver says. “We looked at a few places in Tulsa—but when we went out to Bridle Creek, we just loved it. With the rustic beams, it was really country-looking but still very nice.” Bridle Creek Horse Ranch & Resort, a full-service ranch in Sperry, Okla., has an expansive lodge with wagon-wheel chandeliers, stained concrete fl oors and oversized masonry fi replaces. Twelve guest cabins dot the 126-acre property, which includes horse stables and an indoor rodeo arena.

Landon and Mindy Beaver of Pryor, Okla., had a country-style wedding at Bridle Creek Horse Ranch & Resort in Sperry, Okla., in May 2010.

“I’m kind of at the age when a lot of my friends are getting married, so I liked having a different kind of place,” Beaver says. “It’s only about 20 minutes from Tulsa, but you really feel like you’re in the country.” Lynn Wheatley, owner of Lasting Impressions, an event company that serves northeast Oklahoma, says rural weddings may not be for everyone, but they are ideal for a certain type of bride.

“The brides I’ve had, they wanted a unique venue where it was an opportunity to do something that was completely different,” Wheatley says. “So they use the venue to show off their style or theme, if you will. It wasn’t a budgetary consideration, it was something either familial or just a really special spot to them.” When choosing a location, she says, couples should consider a venue’s size and its proximity to the recep- tion that will follow the ceremony.

“You have to have a pretty good budget when you go rural, because when you go outside the city you’re virtually bringing everything in that you’ll need,” she says. “And you’re taking a chance on whether your guests will come to you—if you go too rural. But it is one of the most unique options. It allows you to do things that mean more to the couple, probably.” At Bella Vista on the Boulevard in Durant, Okla., owner Stella McCarley takes pride in having nearly everything on site that a bride and groom might need. “I do a stress-free wedding,” McCarley says. “It’s pretty much all-inclusive, although they do some things, which I call the ‘fun stuff.’”

The Bella Vista property, in the Southeastern Electric Co-op territory, features a sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired villa on more than 300 acres. Couples have the choice of getting married inside the home, on the wooded grounds or poolside.

Continued on page 26 MAY 2011 21

Photos by Destiny Burk. Courtesy of Destiny Photography.

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